As a former reporter, I was on “the other side” of crisis communications for so long. For this reason, I may have a different take on this topic than many other publicists. Here are my four tips on how any business or brand should be communicating in a crisis situation.
1. I think the worst thing a company could do is say “no comment” or ignore the situation. To a reporter and to the public, that screams “guilty” whether you are or not. Yes, it is important to have a statement… but I don’t think it should be so vague that it could apply to any brand or business in any crisis situation. It’s important to be specific, transparent, and honest.
2. Remember to always have a positive purpose with that statement or message. You can address the negative something that happened, but also talk about the good too.
3. Don’t be afraid to show emotion. Take the business money out of the equation for a second and put yourself in the public’s shoes. Sometimes, it’s nice to see that personal element – especially in a crisis situation because the public may sympathize with you a bit more.
4. Finally, be media trained. It’s safe to hire a spokesperson to handle these things, but it means more to hear from that “real person” who is going through the crisis rather than someone who is hired to speak because they are getting paid to do it.